Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I want to thank the Harvard Varsity Club for this amazing honor and also congratulate the other inductees. It is such a blessing to have been able to play a sport at Harvard, and we are all so fortunate to have been able to do so. I am thankful to the many people who have made it possible for me to enjoy playing such a great game at a truly remarkable place.
I have a lot running through my mind. I guess I’ll just start at the beginning. I remember playing tackle football with my friends when I was about 8 or 9 years old at Garibaldi Park in Port Chester, New York, just blocks from where my parents raised my sister and me. It was so much fun! I was very shy and awkward as a kid, and I remember feeling so comfortable and energized playing football. To run around, hit the other kids, throw and catch the ball – it was a blast! I hated when the kids wanted to go home because it was too hot or getting dark. I never wanted to stop playing. I would come home and tell my Dad how much fun I was having, and he would tell me about his glory days, playing football at Port Chester High School in the late 1950’s and then at Boston University. He talked about his experiences with such a keen memory, recalling so many details from that time. My Dad told me about the Port Chester team that went unscored upon his junior season in 1959 until getting upset the last game of the year by rival Greenwich High School. He told me about the unbelievable times he had and how football was the greatest game he ever played. I would get so fired up listening to those stories. And when I discovered that I enjoyed playing, too, I was so excited to share that with him.
My parents were nervous about letting me play organized football at a young age because I was so skinny. I hated to eat (except cookies and pizza)! But finally, at 10, they let me play, and boy was I glad they did. I went out for the running back position, my favorite position. And I played some defense, too. I loved tackling people. My Dad taught me so much about how to play the game – how to block, tackle, how to run with the ball. Carrying the ball, I just wanted to run to the sideline and get around people, and he showed me how to cut it up into the line, find the hole, and run hard. I used that same style as much as I could in both high school and college.
I went to high school at Iona Prep in New Rochelle, New York, where I played football for four years. What an amazing time! We had some good teams, some big wins and also some tough losses. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. I teach and coach at Iona today and still loving being around the game.
And that brings me to Harvard. The first thing I think of when I think about my experience at Harvard is my friendship with 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Eion Hu. Eion hosted me on my recruiting visit to Harvard in the winter of 1996, and I couldn’t have been luckier to have had him as a host. He was the man at Harvard at the time (and still is). Eion was coming off a record-breaking junior year as the top single-season rusher in Harvard history and was about to eclipse the career school rushing mark. Everyone loved Eion, and I just assumed it was because of what a successful player he was. While that was true, what I came to learn about Eion later on is that he is such a special person. He is smart, humble, caring, and kind. He was so good to me on that recruiting trip, making me feel comfortable and like someone he cared about. That meant the world to me. I couldn’t believe that this cool, fun guy was so genuinely interested in my experience on that weekend.
And that was true of just about all of the guys I met throughout the visit. I remember being in the AD at a party, and so many players told me how much they loved it at Harvard and that I would have a great experience there. I remember just hanging out with them in the dining hall and how they were so nice with my family and me. These guys were the best! I loved my stay at Harvard.
But again, Eion was so special to me that weekend and continued to be throughout my freshman year and beyond. Before curfew in the hotel during away game trips, we would tell the goofiest stories and just laugh our behinds off. It was awesome! He would invite me to hang out with his boys – going to the Spaghetti Club and into Boston. I felt like I was one of the crew. And on the field as Eion’s backup, he taught me so much about how to play the game at the college level. He always made sure I was ok during practice on what route to run or who to pick up on a blitz. I am so grateful for all of those experiences and for Eion’s continued friendship today. He was the best man at my wedding this past July, and I want to say (even though he already knows) that he is my brother and I love him!
There are so many amazing memories and people to recall during my time at Harvard. Our Ivy title in 1997 was amazing! The overtime win against Holy Cross in 1998 was awesome – especially since I think Mike Clare saved my life when he pulled me out from a pile of guys when I couldn’t breathe. And then there were all the exciting games in 1999 – some of them great wins, and some tough losses. I still think the ’99 team was the best 5-5 team in Harvard history. So many amazing memories! I am grateful to have been part of those teams.
Finally, I would just like to mention some people. I want to thank my wife, Jessica. Countless times, I would lose hope on the idea that true love was out there. Today I know that I was lying to myself for ever believing that. God sent me the most beautiful, sensitive, and loving woman in the world. Jessica is my best friend, and I am so grateful to be sharing my life with her.
I want to thank my coaches at Harvard, especially Coach Murphy. Coach Murphy believed in me when I was an undersized high school running back and outside linebacker, and he gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. I am so grateful for that. Thank you, Coach!
I want to thank the training staff at Harvard during those years – Emo, Anthony, Gary, Brad, to name a few. Nothing would get me juiced more than seeing Emo or Anthony cheering from the sideline after I got knocked out of bounds. It made me want to run through a wall!
I want to thank my parents for all their support over the years. They made it to just about every high school and college game, my Mom filming most of them, my Dad watching those films and critiquing my performances. My Dad was my first coach – I can’t say enough about all the things I have learned from both him and my Mom. They taught me to have faith in God, to believe in myself, and to always stay positive no matter what.
I want to thank my sister, Michelle, for her constant love and support. She gave me the strength to pursue my dream of being a college tailback when I was given an opportunity to choose a defensive position my freshman year at Harvard. Because of her guidance, I decided to continue working hard in pursuit of that dream.
And lastly, I want to thank all my teammates, especially my roommates and close buddies – Ari, Brad, Belz, Alex, Nard, and Bab. These wonderful guys really made the experience what it was. They are such special people, and we were all very fortunate to have known and played with one another.